Curried Tofu Bites

What to do with tofu?

It’s one of the most common questions that arises when faced with a block of soybean curd.  Many a person has told me (sadly) “I don’ t like tofu”, usually followed up with such explanations as “It tastes bland” and “I don’t like the texture.”

This is kind of like complaining that you don’t enjoy the flavour of flour.  Of course a bowlful of untouched whole wheat is a trifle bland.  Just as flour is meant to be rustled up into batter, baked into brownies, crafted into cakes and whisked into the base for a batch of waffles, tofu needs love.  More explicitly, it needs to be seasoned.

Tofu needs love.  Think of the affection usually showered on a savoury dish or your best sauce, or whatever protein source you've already mastered cooking.  Love your tofu the same way, and it will taste yummy.
Tofu needs love. Think of the affection usually showered on a savoury dish or your best sauce, or whatever protein source you’ve already mastered cooking. Love your tofu the same way, and it will taste yummy.  Here we’ve already got salt, pepper, and thyme…with more to come.

The concept of seasoning varies greatly.  Some recipes consider a ‘spicy’ dish to be one in which an extra dash of paprika (oooh!  Living on the edge!) has been passed over the closed pot cover.

In my world, a basic tofu involves dicing, sprinkling with fresh-ground salt and pepper, rubbing in fresh (grated) garlic and thyme, and adding either a splash of lime or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, then tossing in flour and pan-frying (i.e., in an iron skillet, and with not too much oil, but enough that it doesn’t stick, and is nicely crispy).

I learned how to appropriately season food as a teenager, when, on Thursday afternoon, we would return home from a giant shopping trip with several raw chickens, all of which needed to be cleaned and seasoned immediately.  (For the record, the experience of having to shove my hand up the nethers of an entire chicken had a lot to do with why I bowed out of chicken-eating when I launched out on my own.  That and the Night Of The Purple Chicken in my dorm-dwelling days.  But, different story.)

One of the very handy things about vegan cooking is that seasoning is a breeze.  If you’re not sure whether there’s enough salt on your tofu, or if you should add more curry powder, just taste it raw, and adjust as needed.  Also, sticking your hand up a block of tofu is considerably less gross.

Curried tofu bites are on their way.  All seasoned up and ready to be tossed in a bit of flour, then pan-fried.
Curried tofu bites are on their way. All seasoned up and ready to be tossed in a bit of flour, then pan-fried.

This “recipe” is a variation on that basic theme.  I ran out of garlic (gasps!) and decided to experiment with onion.  It’s more of an anti-recipe, because, well, it’s not really normal for me to cook (well) with a notepad in one hand, a pen in the other, a third hand stirring the pot, and a fourth snapping pictures.  Even though I usually try to provide recipes, I’m actually a firm believer in general instructions.  I learned to cook by watching and being told “sprinkle some on … no, a little more than that” rather than by following recipes religiously.

So here’s a general idea of how I make my Curried Tofu Bites, sans measurements, because frankly, I’ve never measured for this dish, and you shouldn’t either.  These little nibbles are quick and tasty, and while they don’t mind being marinated, they also work being tossed together and cooked on the spot.  These passed Fella’s I Don’t Like Tofu taste test, so much so that even when he’s having something else and I’ve made just enough for me, his fork still seems to find its way into the dish for a helping or two.

Curried Tofu Bites  

Curried Tofu Bites
Curried Tofu Bites

Pressed tofu
Salt
Black pepper
Onion
Fresh thyme
Oil (I prefer Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Sunflower Oil)
Curry powder
Whole wheat flour

1. Break tofu into bite-sized pieces.  You can also slice or dice it, but breaking it gives a more interesting texture, and a less overly-ordered eating experience.
2. Season with salt and pepper.  I favour fresh-ground versions of each.
3.  Sprinkle on a bit of thyme.
4. Finely grate onion over tofu, and rub in.  The onion (along with the oil, to be added shortly) form the moisture for a light ‘batter’ that helps the flour to stick, so don’t be too stingy.
5. Sprinkle a bit of curry powder over.
5. Lightly drizzle a bit of oil over the mixture, and rub in.  If you have time, set aside to marinade until ready to cook.  If you need to eat now, carry on!
6. Sprinkle with whole wheat flour and mix until all tofu is covered.
7. Heat a bit of oil in a pan, at medium.  When hot, pan-fry tofu until nicely browned, turning to ensure all sides are cooked.
8. Drain on a paper towel, and serve!

Served up with sauteed greens, brown rice, and carrot sticks.
Served up with sauteed greens, brown rice, and carrot sticks.
Advertisements

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Vanessa says:

    Just the most delicious!

    1. Thank you 🙂 They’re tasty little favourites around here…

  2. Ally says:

    Oh that looks goood! I have never thought to ‘break up’ my tofu into pieces like you have here. I’ve crumbled it (for scrambled tofu) or sliced (and diced), but never broken it into pieces. I will have to try this.
    I can relate to your comments about people complaining about the ‘taste’ (or lack thereof) of tofu.
    🙂 I hope you are well.

    1. I feel sad for poor tofu sometimes. Even in this enlightened age of garlic, salt, and pepper, it still finds itself the butt of bland jokes. Oh well. More for me, I say!

      I’m doing pretty well, thanks 🙂 It’s been a bit of a weird spring (though a sunny one), but I’m bouncing back. Hope you’re doing well too 🙂

  3. kyarul says:

    Hmmm. Looks tasty! A bit like home made oven fried chicken bites….think I could fool the masses? Maybe I’ll try…perhaps with a blast of fresh chilli to ward off straying forks!! I’ll let you know how the magical NON shared chilli tofu bites work out. ;D

    1. Yes, please do give it a try! It’s handy to have a secret weapon (i.e., spice) to ward off unwanted samplers…

  4. Ooh, these look good! Sometimes I throw in some curry powder when making tofu scramble in the morning, but this would make a nice dinner option. I’ll have to give it a try!

    1. Please do! I can’t celebrate their low maintenance yumminess enough. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s